The NACD Neurodevelopmental Approach to Human Development

Neurodevelopmental Approach by Bob Doman NACD

Neurodevelopmental Approach

NACD has created a neurodevelopmental approach to human development, the achievement of human potential, and the remediation of developmental, educational, and neurological problems that is based upon the gestalt of the individual. The NACD Neurodevelopmental Approach utilizes a neurologically-based, targeted, eclectic treatment methodology.  The efficacy of NACD’s Neurodevelopmental Perspective has been demonstrated with the over 25,000 clients whose function has ranged from comatose to gifted, and from infant to geriatric.  The NACD Neurodevelopmental Approach is based on the following model:

A Gestalt Perspective

The evaluation of function and determination of treatment is based upon the gestalt of the client. The gestalt perspective involves perceiving the individual and his function as in integrated whole, more than a summation of his or her parts.

Identification of Neurological & Developmental Cause

Global areas of concern are identified, followed by an evaluation to determine the underlying neurological/developmental causes or inefficiencies producing the functional problem or problems.

Acceleration of Neurological & Educational Function

Intervention is based upon both the acceleration of normal neurological development and education, and the remediation of abnormal developmental patterns.

Recognition & Utilization of Neural Plasticity

The basic structure of the intervention is dictated by an appreciation of neural plasticity and the need for organized specific input,  which is provided with the necessary frequency, intensity and duration.

Validation & Empowerment of Parents

The traditional delivery system for therapeutic intervention involves direct interaction between the client and the therapist once or twice a week. This level of interaction is inconsistent with neurological need. In order to provide optimal input both in terms of frequency and sensitivity of input it is necessary to utilize those who can provide significant daily interaction and who know the client the best. This is most often accomplished by utilizing parents, family, or aides.  Given the necessary training and support these individuals can implement the vast majority of treatment plans.

Unlimited Potential

Lack of function or development is not perceived as a lack of potential. Each individual is perceived and provided with opportunities based on a perception of unlimited potential.

Targeted, Eclectic Intervention

Understanding that the more specific the input the more targeted and effective the intervention, an effort is made to incorporate as many valid treatment techniques as possible, providing a truly eclectic model. Treatment techniques are incorporated, developed, modified, and discarded based upon their efficacy or lack there of.

Interrelationship Between Neurological & Physiological Function

The relationship between neurological and physiological function is synergistic. A comprehensive treatment approach must address both factors as part of the gestalt.

Neurodevelopmental Approach: Dynamic Treatment Techniques

The NACD Neurodevelopmental Approach is not philosophically based upon any specific treatment techniques. Specific techniques and methodology are dynamic and often transient. Treatment techniques are created, identified, developed, modified and replaced in an effort to identify the best techniques to be utilized with an individual.


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Reprinted from the Journal of The NACD Foundation (formerly The National Academy for Child Development)

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 2 No. 1, 1981 ©NACD

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